Hadley selected to make Diamonds debut

NSW Swifts rising star Paige Hadley has continued her stellar debut year after being announced to make her Australian Diamonds debut in the International Netball Series against the Malawi Queens later this year.

The 20 year old is joined by three NSW athletes in the squad including NSW Swifts co-captain Kimberlee Green, Erin Bell, and NSW 21/U teammates and best friend Kimberley Ravaillion in the 14-player extended national team.

Netball NSW General Manager – High Performance Tracey Fear said it’s a fantastic reward for the hard work Hadley has put into her first contracted season.

“Netball NSW couldn’t be more thrilled for Paige on the news of her selection.  For a young athlete, Paige displays a work ethic and maturity beyond her years and earning national selection is a just reward for her hard work,” Fear said.

“Paige has a huge commitment to being the best netballer she can be and with that attitude I’m confident she will earn herself a long and successful career as a Diamond.”

“Netball NSW also extends our congratulations to Swifts co-captain Kim Green, as well as 2014 NSW Swifts Sharni Layton on their selection, and wish the Australian Diamonds all the very best for the upcoming international season,” Fear concluded.

Australian Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander has named separate teams for the upcoming Constellation Cup series against the New Zealand Silver Ferns and two-Test series against Malawi starting next month.

National selectors have included Demelza McCloud for the first time since 2005, alongside the uncapped Hadley in the 12-player team to take on Malawi.

McCloud, who was elevated from training partner to squad member during the selection camp, retired from netball in 2010, then made a brief appearance with the Melbourne Vixens as an injury replacement player, before returning full time to the ANZ Championship with the Southern Steel in 2011.

Shooters Caitlin Thwaites and Natalie Medhurst, midcourter Kim Green and defenders Laura Geitz and Bianca Chatfield all returned to the Diamonds team after missing January’s Tour of England.

Defender Sharni Layton also returns to the national team for the first time since 2011 after injury prevented the defender from international duties last year.

“We’ve identified this team with one eye on next year’s Commonwealth Games, we want to give our athletes the opportunity to gel as a unit on and off the court,” Alexander said.

“The two series against New Zealand and Malawi have provided us with an opportunity to work with a high quality group of athletes in excellent form in preparation for next year.”

The Diamonds head into the 2013 internationals minus 252 Tests of experience following the retirement of captain Natalie Von Bertouch (69) after the ANZ Championship Grand Final, withdrawal of veteran Catherine Cox (108) this week and Mo’onia Gerrard’s (68) switch to Rugby 7s.

The Australians will be without a player who’s recorded 50 or more Test appearances with Green and Chatfield the most experienced campaigners, the pair sitting one Test shy of the half-century milestone.

“There’s no denying that we’ve lost a great deal of experience for this year’s Test series but those experienced athletes have played a significant role in helping to prepare this next group of athletes for the previous couple of years,” Alexander said.

Kim Ravaillion has retained her spot in the Diamonds following her international debut against England earlier this year and will be replaced by Hadley, while McCloud will replace Chatfield, for the Malawi series.

The Diamonds will return to camp at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra in a fortnight to continue preparations for Australia’s last international hit out ahead of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

A new Australian captain will be announced in due course.

The 2013 Constellation Cup between the Australian Diamonds and New Zealand Silver Ferns kicks off on September 15 in Invercargill.

2013 Australian Diamonds Team
Caitlin Bassett – WA / West Coast Fever
Erin Bell* – NSW / Adelaide Thunderbirds
Madison Browne – VIC / Melbourne Vixens
Rebecca Bulley – VIC / Adelaide Thunderbirds
Bianca Chatfield (NZ) – VIC / Melbourne Vixens
Laura Geitz – QLD / QLD Firebirds
Kimberlee Green* – NSW / NSW Swifts
Paige Hadley* (Malawi) – NSW / NSW Swifts
Renae Hallinan – VIC / Adelaide Thunderbirds
Sharni Layton – VIC / NSW Swifts
Demelza McCloud (Malawi) – VIC / QLD Firebirds
Natalie Medhurst – SA / QLD Firebirds
Kimberley Ravaillion* (NZ) – NSW / QLD Firebirds
Caitlin Thwaites – VIC / Central Pulse
*denotes NSW junior